Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Who Owns the Literary Copyright?

Today I learned of a database that may be useful when you need to obtain permission to use copyrighted literary material in a book or article. WATCH : Writers Artists and Their Copyright Holders is a database of copyright contacts for writers, artists, and prominent figures in other creative fields.

It is run jointly by the Harry Ransom Center (UT-Austin) and University of Reading (UK) Library.

A search for the copyright holder for W.B. Yeats yields this result:

For information about vanished publishing concerns, literary agencies, and similar firms, please see the sister site, FOB (Firms out of Business). You must know the name of the firm.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Literature Resource Center - Advanced Search

All the databases coming from Gale Publishing-which includes Literature Resource Center-now have "Advanced Search" as the default search mode. However, you still have access to the "Basic Search" by simply clicking on that link in the top left of the screen.
Advanced Search has the familiar multi-box search screen and allows for more searching flexibility.

A few hints:
  1. To search for a phrase, enclose the words in quotation marks.
      "cherry orchard"
  2. When searching for an author, using the search field "Person-By or About (pz)", type "last name first name" e.g., "chaucer geoffrey"

  3. Truncation/Wildcard:
    * substitutes for one or more characters at the end of a word or root word
    ? substitutes for a single character within a word or at the end of a word
    ! substitutes for one or no characters within a word (colo!r locates color and colour)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Change in Google search results

I thought I'd pass on something I learned from a colleague in Reference, in case you haven't heard about it.

Google has made a significant change to the way it searches and presents results.

As of December 4, 2009, Google has made "Personalized Search" the default search. This means that the search results are no longer based on Google's normal algorithm. Rather, search results are now customized based on 180 days of search activity linked to a cookie on your computer's browser.

Quoting from an article in Search Engine Land, "By watching what you click on in search results, Google can learn that you favor particular sites. For example, if you often search and click on links from Amazon that appear in Google's results, over time, Google learns that you really like Amazon. In reaction, it gives Amazon a ranking boost. That means you start seeing more Amazon listings, perhaps for searches where Amazon wasn't showing up before." (Sullivan, Danny, 2009, "Google Now Personalizes Everyone's Search Results," http://searchengineland.com/google-now-personalizes-everyones-search-results-31195)

Here's a link to Google's announcement about the change: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/personalized-search-for-everyone.html

Here is a link to information about how you can turn off the personalization on your own computer, if you wish: Turning off Personalization.

This has interesting implications for researchers who are unaware of this change in how search results are displayed.